In the News

August 2011
Veterans’ Information Day, Job Fair Set for Sept. 14th
The Jersey Journal: Sen. Menendez Again Calls for Port Authority Audit, Christie Veto of Toll and Fare Hikes, and Breakdown of Agency’s Spending on the States

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is holding hearings today on  proposed toll and fare increases.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez had a statement read into the record at the bi-state agency reiterating a call for an audit of the Port Authority and for Gov. Chris Christie to veto the increases.
Menendez states that there open questions including how did the agency find itself in such a financial hole?

Menendez Visits Shore Memorial in show of support for veterans’ health care
Cash-Strapped N.J. Police Departments to Receive $6M in Federal Aid
NJ Spotlight: Port Authority Toll and Fare Hikes May Be on Fast Track to a Veto

The Port Authority's billion-dollar toll hike proposal is on a fast track through public hearings today and slated for approval by the Port Authority board Friday. But look for Gov. Chris Christie and his New York counterpart, Andrew Cuomo, to slam on the brakes.

Five New Prominent Jersey City Names Added to Circle of Honor at 9/11 Fountain
Children’s Health Day Gets Kids Ready for School
$11 Million for Community Development, Access to Housing for Low and Moderate Income Families
Menendez Asks Residents to Fight 30 Percent Cut in Transportation Funding
Press of Atlantic City: Menendez Says Stable FAA and NextGen Funding is Vital for Region

Securing stable funding for the Federal Aviation Administration is critically important to the future NextGen development slated to take place in the township, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez said Thursday.

Philadelphia Inquirer: In Cherry Hill, Menendez Presents Eco Incentives Plan

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez visited one of New Jersey's poster communities for suburban sprawl Thursday to unveil a bill that would create nationwide certification programs to recognize and support environmental friendliness.

The Hudson County Democrat, speaking in Cherry Hill, said he would introduce the Sustainable States Act when lawmakers return for their next session after Labor Day.

The Cherry Hill Courier Post: Menendez Promotes Sustainability in N.J.

Cherry Hill is a car-dependent suburb of more than 71,000 people that sprang up after World War II, spread out on single-family lots and criss-crossed by highways lined with shopping centers. This is not the kind of place that probably pops into your mind when you think of a sustainable community.

Union County, City of Camden to Share Federal Money for Community Initiatives
Menendez and Lautenberg Announce Opening of Application Period for Firefighters Assistance Grants
Free Health Screenings for Kids Set for Saturday in Burlington City
NBC 40: Local Politicians Support Air National Guard

State and local officials came together to take a close look at two brand new facilities designed to better support the New Jersey Air National Guard. In fact, leaders say they are both investments in our nation's security.

Press of Atlantic City: Ceremony Marks Completion of 177th Fighter Wing of New Jersey Air National Guard Buildings

The 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard formally cut the ribbon on two new buildings Thursday.

“It’s great to serve, but it’s awesome to serve in a pair of buildings as great as these,” Col. Robert C. Bolton, wing commander for the 177th, said in his public comments.

Politico: Senate Dems Want Jobs in Super Committee Plan

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats on Thursday challenged Republicans to ensure that the super committee tasked with coming up with a deficit-reduction plan "embrace job creation as part of its mission."

NJ Today: Dems Urge Republicans to Put Jobs 1st in Deficit Reduction Plans

A day after Republicans in the House and Senate announced their picks for the Joint Select Committee to recommend ways to reduce the federal deficit as part of the debt ceiling compromise, New Jersey’s two senators and 21 other Senate Democrats asked them to put jobs first.

Watertown Daily Times: Medicare Deal

During the debate over the health care reform law, there were lots of deals made granting special treatment to one state or another to win support for the bill. Some of them like the “Second Louisiana Purchase” and another for Nevada for special Medicaid treatment made it into law. Others like the Cornhusker Kickback for Nebraska did not. Now, we learn that Massachusetts will reap an additional $275 million in Medicare funds that will be taken from other states, among them New York, as the result of language inserted by Sen. John F. Kerry.

His amendment caps a convoluted process that began in 2007 in an attempt by Massachusetts to use Medicare rules to leverage higher payments by changing the designation of a Nantucket hospital to rural status, bringing into play other obscure Medicare regulations.

One requires reimbursement for wages at urban hospitals to be at least as much as rural hospitals. Since the two island hospitals had high labor costs the reclassification served to raise payments to the state’s urban hospitals. But another rule says the adjustments cannot lead to an overall increase in Medicare funding, which is set nationally. So the extra money for Massachusetts comes out of other states’ share.

Medicare tried to block the change until Sen. Kerry with support from Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey inserted his amendment into the health law clearing the way for the transition. Sen. Menedez’s endorsement paid off. New Jersey will get another $54 million, the second highest amount of seven states that will come out ahead.

Massachusetts officials say the change, which takes effect in October, makes up for money the state lost through a rule change several years ago.

Forty-one states will lose money, but the biggest loser will be New York, where hospitals will be out $47.5 million, the Associated Press reported.

The American Hospital Association, which supported the Affordable Health Care Act, says it did not understand the provision.

“You have this small hospital, sitting on an island in the Atlantic Ocean, having a profund impact on hospital payments across the country,” Herb Kuhn, president of the Missouri Hospital Association, told the Boston Globe.

It is an example of how politicians and others can manipulate a system, carving out special treatment, favors and loopholes that makes Medicare reform more difficult.

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